- Alex MacNeil
- Kjartan Bragi Bjarnason
- Gylfi Blöndal
- Hudson Wayne
kimono release new album, Easy Music For Difficult People, on Kimi Records.
Third studio album from Icelandic progressive guitar band kimono was released on Kimi Records on December 4th. The album marks a significant change in style for the band, who return as a trio with their first album in 4 years. Clocking in at just over 30 minutes and 9 songs, the album represents a shift from the "calm before the storm" soundscape (with which the band has been associated on their previous records) to a full-on post-punk album where urgency and immediacy hold sway.
kimono first came together in late 2001 with Icelanders Gylfi Blöndal (guitar), Halldór Ragnarsson (bass) and Þráinn Óskarsson (drums) and Canadian Alex MacNeil (guitar, vocals). The band wasted no time and in 2002 they had put together an EP with four songs, recorded by the band themselves. Soon came an album deal from Smekkleysa in Iceland and in 2003, mineur aggressif, the bands debut album saw the light of day. Reviewers and gig audience alike took immediately to the dark and unoptimistic sound of the dreamy weaving of guitars build on a solid foundation of rhythm most often associated with kraut-rock. The band sought its inspiration from 70‘s bands like Television and Can, indie bands like Sonic Youth, Blonde Redhead and even Neil Young and Fugazi.
mineur aggressif was well received in Iceland and won the band a nomination as Best New Act at the Icelandic Music Awards in 2003. 2004 saw the band travel to the United States for dates on the East Coast, shows the band used primarily to showcase a brand new set of songs, written after Kjartan Bragi Bjarnason joined the bands on the drums, following the departure of Þráinn Óskarsson. The switch had a big impact on the band as their sound tightened and they started writing songs in a more confident manor. Again, no time was wasted and in August of 2005 they released their follow up, Arctic Death Ship. Critics seemed to agree that the band was moving forward dramatically and the record drew comparisons to no less than the White Album by The Beatles.
kimono even scored an unexpected hit with the track "Aftermath", cementing the band's capability to write catchy-yet-thought-provoking songs. The band sure didn‘t let that get to their heads and in just a couple of weeks after the release, the band set sail for Berlin, Germany, to set up camp and follow up the European release of Arctic Death Ship on Smekkleysa via Rough Trade Distribution. At The Icelandic Music Awards in early 2006 the band received a nomination for Best Rock Album but saw the prize go to Sigur Rós for Takk. After the return to Reykjavík in 2006, founding member and bassist Halldór decided to leave the band and focus on his paintings and other musical venture, 7 piece Morr band Seabear. Even though the departure was friendly, the band found itself struggling to man the post and after a few different setups, Alex, Kjartan and Gylfi decided that they would go on as a 3 piece, with Gylfi switching to baritone guitar and occasionally bass.
This time around they took their time polishing a new sound and a new set of songs that now occupy Easy Music For Difficult People. After experimenting with live multi-track recordings in their studio, Onomatopoeaic, in downtown Reykjavík, the band decided to recruit Arctic Death Ship engineer Aron Arnarsson and recorded the entire album live over a long weekend in the summer of 2009. Alex manned the post of producer. All instruments, amplification and drums were set up in one space with no dividers isolating the roaring sounds of guitars nor the beating sonic spectrum of drums. The result is a live studio album where the band attempted and succeeded in bringing its notable live experience onto the disc.
the last 8 years, kimono has had a strong and loyal following in
Iceland and yet they have been reluctant to chase golden opportunities
abroad and settling rather for room and peace to keep on creating music
without any limitations than their own imaginations. It‘s hard not to
notice their influence on Iceland rock today, younger bands like Sudden
Weather Change and Me, The Slumbering Napoleon for example. It‘s
suitable then that kimono decided move from Smekkleysa to Kimi Records
for this album, as the label has been by far the most active one in
seeking out and supporting indie rock bands on a wide scale, like the
aforementioned bands. -- via the artist's Facebook
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